Jens Thraenhart, also known as Mr. Mekong

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He is also known as Mr. Mekong. Jens Thraenhart is now the first tourism hero in Thailand.

He has more than 25 years of experience in the international travel, tourism and hospitality industries and includes positions in operations, marketing, business development, revenue management, strategic planning and e-business. Early in his career, Jens’s entrepreneurial edge was sharpened by starting and running a successful food catering company, a New York-based leisure travel internet company, and running an independent luxury golf resort in Germany.

In 2014, Jens Thraenhart was appointed Head of Mekong Tourism Coordinating (MTCO) as Executive Director by the Tourism Ministries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and China (Yunnan and Guanxi). In 2008, he co-founded the award-winning Chinese digital marketing company Dragon Trail in 2009 and led marketing and internet strategy teams at the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Since 1999 he has been CEO of Chameleon Strategies.

Educated at Cornell University with an MBA accredited Master of Management in Hospitality and a joint Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University Center ‘Cesar Ritz’ in Brig, Switzerland, Mr. Thraenhart was recognized as one of the 2003 Named one of the 100 best rising stars in the travel industry by Travel Agent Magazine, was named one of the 25 most extraordinary sales and marketing heads in the hospitality and travel industry and one of the 20 most extraordinary heads in the European travel industry by HSMAI in 2004 and 2005 in 2014. He is a member of the UNWTO, board member of PATA and former chairman of PATA China.

He was nominated as a tourism hero by Peter Richards of the Tourlink Project in Thailand.

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Mr. Richard justified his nomination with the words:

I have known and worked with Jens on various projects for over 10 years. He has an extraordinary ability to connect with people from all sectors and roles and to make “inclusivity” practical and tangible.

He is equally comfortable and sincere working with government officials, industry leaders, and grassroots NGOs; and somehow manages to find an authentic way to facilitate smooth communication and mutual understanding between these stakeholders and to go beyond the “hard-wired” stakeholder positions of antipathy (and sometimes historical antagonism).

In his role at MTCO, Jens has always succeeded in advocating responsible tourism and sustainable tourism, creating visibility and benefits for SMEs and communities, and diplomatically weaving progressive agendas into high-level public-private partnerships.

Jens balance and diplomatic skill across all interest groups is extremely difficult to achieve; and especially difficult to achieve with sincerity and concrete results.

During his time as director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Jens continuously provided creative ideas and looked for input and collaboration. He doesn’t get discouraged when people are too busy to get involved, and he always lets you know that there will always be another time and opportunity. The guy is really an inspiration and makes very difficult moderations seem pretty effortless. He deserves recognition.

There is no lobbying behind this nomination. It’s sincere, from my professional appreciation for an executive to partnerships for positive change in tourism. “

WTN chairman Jürgen Steinmetz sat down with Jens on Zoom.

The Hall of International Tourism Heroes is only open by nomination to recognize those who have shown exceptional leadership, innovation and action. Tourism Heroes take the extra step.

There are never any fees and anyone can be nominated www.heroes.travel

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